There are a lot of ways to make your house a home but one of my favorite is to decorate naturally. Since we have a garden we grow the usual things: tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, beans and corn, and though all of these are great to eat none of them are particularly great to decorate with unless you dry the corn or use their stalks. But some more humble harvests are wonderful to hang and dry, making the kitchen and even the living room look a little more like something from Tolkien’s’s Middle-earth. From small pegs or nails near the ceiling, we hang long lines of onions, peppers, herbs, (peppermint, oregano, sage, lemon grass, Thyme and what ever else happens to have done well this year). We have even done a little inventing with grape vines, laying them over pictures or twisting them into interesting shapes and tying late summer flowers to them.
My middle daughter has an especially good eye for this sort of thing. She is always coming up with new ways of decorating the house with nature’s gifts. She uses cattails and puts them in a vase with long green grass stems and perhaps a sun flower or two. (Spray the cattails with hairspray or they will burst with seed before you know it, which can be an interesting science experiment but a chore to clean up.)
We look forward each fall to the harvest, not just for good food, but for the sheer joy of seeing the house transformed from bare rooms to a cozy haven, sheltering us from the harsh winter winds and the isolation of a slumbering earth. With nature’s bounty hanging from the walls and decorating little corners, we are reminded; we are never alone and season’s bounty has not left us bereft.